An exhilarating spy thriller inspired by a true story about the precious secrets up for grabs just after the fall of the Berlin Wall—from the acclaimed author of The Cover Wife
On a chilly early morning walk on the wooded outskirts of Berlin, Emil Grimm finds the body of his neighbor, a fellow Stasi officer named Lothar, with a gunshot wound to the temple and a pistol in his right hand. Despite appearances, Emil suspects murder. A few months earlier he would have known just what to do, but now, as East Germany disintegrates, being a Stasi colonel is more of a liability than an asset. More troubling still is that Emil and Lothar were involved in a final clandestine mission, one that has clearly turned deadly. Now Emil must finish the job alone, on uncertain ground where old alliances seem to be shifting by the day.
Meanwhile, CIA agent Claire Saylor, sent to Berlin to assist an Agency mop-up action against their collapsing East German adversaries, has just received an upgrade to her assignment. She'll be the designated contact for a high-ranking foreign intelligence officer of the Stasi, although details are suspiciously sketchy. When her first rendezvous goes dangerously awry, she realizes the mission is far more delicate than she was led to believe.
With the rules of the game changing fast, and as their missions intersect, Emil and Claire find themselves on unlikely common ground, fighting for their lives against a powerful enemy hiding in the shadows.
At the start of this superb spy thriller set in 1990 from Fesperman (The Cover Wife), Emil Grimm, who's soon to be discharged from the foreign intelligence service of East Germany's Ministry of State Security, is walking in the woods near his "dacha" north of Berlin when he comes across a crime scene. Investigators are prowling near a body, which Grimm helps identify as his fellow Stasi officer, Lothar Fischer, with whom he was working on a final operation after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The gun in Fischer's hand suggests he died by suicide, but Grimm suspects otherwise. Meanwhile, CIA agent Claire Saylor (last seen in The Cover Wife) is in Berlin on a mission that leads her to cross paths with Grimm. Fesperman nicely works historical figures such as Markus Wolf, "the Stasi's most renowned spymaster," into the complex plot while painting an evocative portrait of East Berlin, "spying's most storied theme park." A surprisingly moving bond develops between Saylor and Grimm, who fears prosecution or worse after reunification, as the action builds to a deeply satisfying denouement. Cold War era spy fiction doesn't get much better than this. Agent: Ann Rittenberg, Ann Rittenberg Literary.